The UMBC defense made one of its loudest season-opening statements by creating silence.
Behind goalkeeper Andrew Hampson's 20 saves, the No. 10 Retrievers ended an 11-game skid to Navy by allowing just one goal in the final 39 minutes to quiet the No. 9 Midshipmen, 9-3, yesterday afternoon before 1,465 at Rip Miller Field in Annapolis.
UMBC (1-0) limited Navy (0-1) to its lowest offensive output in seven years on 7 percent shooting.It's the first season-opening victory for the Retrievers since 1994.
"This game is all about ground balls and defense," said UMBC coach Don Zimmerman, who directed the Retrievers to their first NCAA tournament appearance last year. "Our guys came down to Annapolis ready to play."
The UMBC close defense of Jason Quenzer, Zack Burke and Dave Ford shut out Navy's entire attack, holding the Midshipmen to the perimeter. In particular, Quenzer used simple body positioning to offset a 15-pound disadvantage and blank Jamie O'Leary, Navy's leading scorer the past two years who had a goal in every game last season.
With O'Leary contained, the Midshipmen never found their groove. Navy, which outshot the Retrievers 43-26, failed to score on any of its five extra-man opportunities and misfired on its last 17 shots.
"Quenzer is one of our top athletes and really rose to the occasion," Zimmerman said. "But I thought our entire defense played great as a unit. We were always ready to slide and Hampson was a rock in the goal."
With Navy not being able to free up a man by screens or cuts, Hampson had plenty of time to pick up balls coming from the outside. On the few times a Midshipman found a lane to the crease, Hampson stepped out to cut off the angle and deflect the shot.
"This is the most experienced defense I've played behind," said Hampson. "Their job is to keep the shots from 10 yards and out. It's my job to save them from there."
UMBC did its damage offensively in the game's first five minutes, capitalizing on Navy's numerous miscues for a 4-0 lead. Chris Turner scored all three of his goals in that span as the Retrievers converted on four of their first seven shots and never let the margin drop below three goals.
Turner opened the scoring with a 7-yard shot just 26 seconds into the game, when first-year defensive midfielder Mike Hicks beat Navy's slow-responding midfielders upfield and found a wide-open Turner. Only 12 seconds later, Turner picked up a loose ball off a failed Navy clear and scored easily.
The Retrievers then exposed holes in close against a soft Midshipmen defense, as Jeff Ratcliffe and Turner each found room for point-blank shots on the crease.
The Midshipmen appeared careless on clears, throwing the ball out of bounds several times. The unforced errors just mounted on the offensive end as Navy dropped balls and threw some lazy passes across the middle.
The mistakes became magnified by the fact that the Retrievers had a 32-20 edge in ground balls through the first three quarters to record their first win over Navy since 1983.
UMBC has now held six of its past eight opponents to single digits.
"The first five minutes pretty much determined the pace of the game," Navy coach Richie Meade said. "Momentum's a funny thing and they seized it. I don't think we handled the competitiveness of the game. We didn't show poise or concentration."
Pub Date: 2/28/99